Fake news: a failure

The easy solution to dealing with fake news is to detect it, block it and prevent it from spreading.

That’s fraught with danger, as is any censorship.

How do you distinguish fake news from extreme positions held sincerely? The motive of a post can make it troublesome, but extracting the motive behind content is difficult. For a human to separate satire from deception can be unreliable. To believe that misinformation can be reliably detected by software is trusting technology more than it deserves.

How can you trust the institutions that are determining what is fake news? The organizations that determine what that should limit or block can be influenced by money and power to support someone’s agenda. Bullies on twitter can push people around and outplay the cards that a businessperson keeps close.

The problem of destructive news being propagated is a failure.

Ideally, a successful democracy has informed citizens who make rational decisions based on information that they thirst for.

The internet dopes up any such thirst with quick answers that don’t have any knowledge behind them… let alone wisdom.


Censorship and the Courts

I was reading “Courts and Censorship” by Hans A. Linde[1].
A sculpture of blind justice holding a balance
He concludes: “When a constitutional prohibition is addressed to lawmakers, as the first amendment is, the role that it assigns to courts is the censorship of laws, not participation in government censorship of private expression. This, I suggest, is not an inappropriate relation between courts and censorship.”

What this means to me is that the courts can take an expression of law and cut out the offending part of the law, while it should not take an expression of ideas, speech or writing and cut out the offending part of the expression.

That’s just so poetic to me. Perhaps the first clause is a way to clarify the definition of judicial restraint.

Original image: Blind Justice 3. By Marc Treble [Image license]

[1] Linde, H. (1981). Courts and Censorship. Minnesota Law Review 66(1), 171-208.